Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bedspreads

Another thing we found at my aunt's house when we were cleaning it out was treasures made by my grandmother. She was quite an accomplished crocheter, like most women of that era, and left behind some beautiful examples of her work. I came home with a bedspread and a tablecloth that she made and each one must represent hundreds of hours of her handiwork. Each is a delicate, lacy creation, the kind that every home had as women helped make ends meet by creating the cozy home by hand.

I haven't quite fiqured out what to do with these treasures yet. I'm not sure they should go on my own guest beds since the grandkids probably don't have as much appreciation for them as we do, and I'm not sure the local historical society would be interested in them. But they are beautiful and I could never bring myself to throw them out.

Hopefully if I store them away some day my own children won't curse me for hanging on to them when they have to figure out what to do with them. Perhaps by then they'll be historic enough to have value to someone other than me!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Childhood memories

Cleaning out my aunt's house was a real trip through memory lane. We came across things that took us right back to the 1950s and early 1960s when we were kids and the world was a gentler, softer place - at least in our minds.

Some of the treasures we found? All little things. But big in the minds of those of us who remember them. For instance, she had a big stack of green stamp books, all filled in with stamps, ready to be redeemed at the local redemption center (long closed!). We talked about how when we were kids you always got some sort of gift when you shopped for gasoline. If it wasn't green stamps it was a set of glasses, for instance. The same thing at the grocery store. I remember my mother collecting complete sets of dishes, one plate at a time as they were given each week as a bonus for spending a certain amount of money.

We found a set of tiny salt shakers by Morton Salt. There was a time when you could buy these little containers in sets of six, each about 2 inches high, to be used at each place setting when you sat outside at the picnic table eating corn-on-the-cob. I had totally forgotten about those, but immediately the memories came back!

We found unused tea towels, or dish towels if that's what you call them, that were obviously dating to the 1960s because of the colors. They were clearly meant to coordinate with avocado green and harvest gold appliances with their bright prints and wild combinations.

We even found old giveaways from local politicians and hardware stores, like those wonderful yard sticks you never see anymore!

We may not have had the internet or air conditioning in our automobiles back in those days, but we did have our little conveniences and now, lots of memories. It was a wonderful world!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Changes

So since I took the plunge and changed my hair color I've noticed something interesting. This is a huge change in my appearance and no one could help but notice it. However, some people immediately say something, like "Love your new color", or "Hey - you changed your hair!". But many people completely ignore it and say nothing. I feel sort of like the emperor sporting his new clothes, and no one dares say a word! I find it a little odd and wonder what they're thinking. Do they think they shouldn't mention it because I don't know about it? Or that maybe its a mistake and they shouldn't bring any attention to it? I can't quite figure it out because its such an obvious thing.

I still startle myself sometimes, like when I pass a mirror and see a stranger there. But I'm adjusting and that's good. Because when and if I decide to change it back it won't happen overnight and may take a few visits to accomplish. And at some point I'm going to want to let it go completely and be gray. This business of growing old is not easy, is it?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Days

The days are getting longer and the sun is still keeping us in daylight past 5:00 these days and its a welcome thing. I love seeing the late-day sun illuminating the back yard late in the day, beams coming through my front windows and bouncing off the furniture, signaling the end of the day.

Our morning walks will become more adventurous as the early sun is making the roads safer too. We won't have to stick to the sidewalks and well-lit areas as we have been and we can venture down the wide side roads of the village knowing we're easy to see for the few passing motorists that are out as well.

Our cozy home bound days are coming to an end within a matter of weeks now. By April we'll be enjoying the chance to plant in the garden after work or walk to dinner in the village. The light changes everything: our spirits, our enjoyment of the outdoors, even our outlook on life. Season after season, year after year, the light tells us where we are and leads the way forward. In so many ways.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunny days

We've had interesting weather in February this year. We've had a number of snowy days and some very cold ones. But we've also had some pleasantly warm and sunny ones. In fact its almost been a bit of a roller coaster, and its not only here on the East End. I'm thinking it might have something to do with global warming, which I do believe it factual, by the way.

When we were in Buffalo last week it was unusually warm. They told us that this was the second winter in a row that was mild, and in fact there was very little snow on the ground when we arrived. There were leftover mounds along shady spots and curbs, but the grass was devoid of the white stuff and we didn't have to climb over any at all - practically unheard of for Buffalo in February. When we were there twenty years ago for my uncle's funeral there was at least two feet on the ground there. And it was an accumulation, not from one storm. Seeing the ground this time was a surprise.

Not only was there no snow, it was comfortably warm. It was in the mid-to-high thirties. The day we left the temperature had dropped and it was snowing. Again - a roller coaster. Weird weather everywhere.

I'm not sure how soon global warming will be a threat to our way of life, but there's no doubt it's a reality, at least not to me. But I love the sunny days of February and in fact, I don't even mind the bitter cold if the day is bright and sunny. The sun has healing powers - that's a fact that's been known for eons now and even the most prehistoric of humans had some special ways of acknowledging that. And now, in the month of February, it's healing power is at work here on the East End, making us all feel the promise it holds.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Redhead

So I took the plunge and went red. I've been thinking about it for over a month now and going back and forth about whether I wanted to make such a drastic change, and even as I drove to the hairdresser I wasn't sure what I was going to do. But when I arrived I discovered that, since I had discussed this with him during my last visit, he had been thinking and planning for it - and had a formula ready to go. I didn't want to disappoint him and I was ready so we did it.

As he dried my hair and I could see the rich color clearly I was pleased at the change. There's something about a new hairstyle, or a new color, that's exciting and I love it.

Oh, I know there will be others who will turn up their noses at my new color. I find that people are pretty free with their opinions when they're negative so I expect to hear from some who don't like it at all. It's OK though, I'm ready for it. Because at my age I've learned that there are as many opinions out there as there are people and its nearly impossible to find two exactly the same.

Besides, at the end of the day, its only hair. And hair can be changed.

Friday, February 22, 2013

February blues

Everybody talks about the "February blues". I don't generally mind the winter but I do understand the term!

February seems to be the longest month to me, even though in reality its the shortest. The holidays are over and Spring is still another month away so here we are in the middle of winter, largely house bound, with not a whole lot of excitement to look forward to. Growing up I had my birthday to get excited about since it falls very early in March and the anticipation of that was enough to keep me happy. But as an adult, with the fun of birthday parties no longer a reality, it's going to be awhile before the family all gathers and we enjoy the love of the special people in our lives.

We saw an episode of the television show "Parenthood" where they took a road trip together. It was the 86th birthday of the grandmother so three generations got into five cars and formed a caravan to drive the 800 miles to her home to celebrate. I though it looked like a lot of fun, despite the various arguments and typical family eye rolling that ensued. I'd love to be able to take my entire extended family on a road trip and get them all together for a few fun days.

The month of February is the perfect time for dreaming about things like that. Because our dreams and fantasies are the best things we have going for us in February!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Butterfly kisses

Last week someone posted a video on Facebook that they had found on YouTube. I rarely watch those things and almost never re-post them, but this one was so beautiful I had to do it. Because it renewed my faith in human love and kindness in a time when we sometimes wonder where those things have gone.

This video is a wedding dance. Apparently the bride's father died the night before the wedding. My gut feeling as that it was not an unexpected death and perhaps he had been sick for some time, but certainly it wasn't expected for that particular time. Her brother got up to talk about the bride's dance and explained that he had recorded the song for his sister and father to dance to, and in his father's place would be some other special people to stand in. And the music started, a beautiful rendition of "Butterfly Kisses" which is a tear-jerker all on it's own, sung by her very talented brother and obviously recorded in a professional studio. The first man to come dance with her looked as though he could have been her grandfather and he lovingly patted her on the back as they danced and she cried. Then her brother took over, then another young man, possibly a cousin or good friend, and finally another older man. I was guessing it was an uncle or good friend of her father's. I don't know who they were, but there was so much love in that room as people cried along with the beautiful bride, that it was infectious and anyone watching the video would do the same.

Every ponce in awhile something comes along to counteract the horror of events like Sandy Hook, and this is one of them. I was go glad to see it.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Possessions

Cleaning out my aunt's house for sale these past few days have made me think a lot about the "things" of our lives. She was a real hoarder, my aunt, and apparently never threw much of anything out despite her small house.

Among the things we found were church bulletins, wedding invitations, bridal shower cards (from 1955), wedding cards, birthday cards, advertisements, free give-away things like return address labels (LOTS of them!), and lipsticks. I think I threw away over 50 old lipsticks scattered throughout her dresser drawers.

Many I could identify with. I saved all the cards I received when each of my children were born for a long time. I enjoyed looking at them when I ran across them and they gave me pleasure in the memory so I understand her hanging on to things. I could easily be a hoarder myself because I am a nostalgic person who loves my memories as well. But things like church bulletins - well unless they were for a special occasion, that one escapes me.

My siblings and I have been saying to each other throughout this process "I have to go home and start throwing out my stuff", not wanting our children to have to do the same thing some day. But the fact of the matter is, if those things gave her pleasure, what's the harm in it?

Mostly I think about how our lives can be summoned up in a dumpster full of stuff - the things that made up our every day existence, the little things of living. Our real legacies are the accomplishments we leave behind: our families, our life's work, our contributions to the world. The rest is only going in a dumpster some day. I think that's what we call an "illustrated sermon" right there....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ottomans

I'm not sure what we did before we had these big, comfy ottomans.

I don't remember much about our furniture growing up, but I know we didn't have ottomans like the ones you can buy today. I remember my grandmother having a little low one with spindly legs, and I remember my parents having a small round leather one that my father used. But now Ottomans have become huge pieces of furniture that three people can comfortably put their feet up on. They double as seating for large groups and can be rolled around from place to place. Some even have storage inside. I love my ottomans. After a long day, there's nothing quite as comforting as putting your feet up on a nice, well padded ottoman with a nice pair of slippers on my feet and a cold - or hot - drink in my hand.

It really is the simple things in life sometimes....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thruways

We've spent some time on the New York State Thruway this week. Not long ago we were on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. All these major roadways share one thing in common: they are boring! I can't quite figure out why they can't make these roads, where we often spend hours of our time, more interesting to drive!

I remember the old Burma Shave signs from when I was very young. They had them on the NYS Thruway and we always looked forward to them. If you are too young to remember them, they were signs spaced out along the road, each one with a line of a short poem. There were usually four or five signs, the last of which was a funny punch line. It was a brilliant advertising campaign that finally ended when speeds on these major roadways became too fast for drivers to safely read the signs. Here's a sample:
  • If you dislike / Big traffic fines / Slow down / Till you / Can read these signs / Burma-Shave
And here's another one:
  • Hardly a driver / Is now alive / Who passed / On hills / At 75 / Burma-Shave
They were always amusing and gave us something fun to do while we traveled, whether we were driving or riding in the car.

Then there were the roadside attractions: buildings in interesting shapes, restaurants designed to catch our eye with big neon signs and movement, and places to stop like "Fairyland" and "Nursery Rhyme Land". It was great to be able to get out and stretch our legs on a trip upstate to visit relatives.

Signs along the roadway now are all the same - bright green - boring, and not funny at all. And there is no nice scenery to enjoy - just lots of asphalt and trees. Our roads are safer and better than they were in the 1950s and 1960s I know. But they're also so much less interesting....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ashley Madison

I recently learned that there is a website that you can go on to sign in and look for someone to have an affair with. And the day when the most women visit this website and sign up is the day after Valentine's Day. Interesting!


I wonder why men will never learn that women continue to want romance and passion in their lives until the day they die? The may get old and wrinkled on the outside but on the inside they are still young and pretty and longing for someone to see that girl through all the lines and gray hair. They want to think they are still desired and still attractive. But I've read that men in general tend to take their lives and their wives for granted after a number of years so I'm guessing most of them just don't get it.

We all know that men and women are different. We know through the many studies that have been done as well as from our own experiences that we don't think the same, we don't reason the same, we don't even work out problems the same. We are different in every way. Men, apparently, become so comfortable in their lives, including their wives, that they no longer see the need to woo and seduce these significant others. Men are vulnerable to physical beauty, but for women, their vulnerability is all emotional. The man who makes them feel beautiful will always win out over the one with movie star good looks.

I'm wondering how many women went on to Ashley Madison, the website where these things are accomplished, after Valentine's Day this year....

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Guests

Last weekend when our own church was not opened, we checked around to see where there was one we could attend and headed out to Bridgehampton on Sunday morning. After all, we would have no problem getting out and driving so why not go spend time in church after being closed in at home for over 24 hours. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we wanted to do what we usually do on Sunday mornings.

There were a good number of hearty souls out that morning - traffic was moving well and many came out to join neighbors for worship. It was a nice hour of fellowship, singing hymns and sharing scripture, and we were glad we had gone.

Ironically, we're heading to Buffalo today to help out an elderly relative there and I can't help but think about what those hearty people would think about how many churches were closed here last weekend. I can't imagine it happens very often up there in the real north country!

We're shuffling off soon.....hopefully the snow stay in abeyance.....

Friday, February 15, 2013

Boots

With snow last weekend I really missed having a good pair of boots. How can one survive in the northern states without boots? It's not easy.

I actually have a few pair of boots, all mostly never used, none of which fit well. If you have a difficult foot size it is nearly impossible to find boots that are comfortable. In my case its a very wide foot and after spending about ten minutes in a pair that are too small walking becomes a bit like torture. Even sitting in them is not comfortable so wearing them to meetings or church is a miserable thing to contemplate. So usually, I avoid wearing them, preferring to stick with my well worn (but comfortable) sneakers.

My dream is to some day find a nice, fashionable pair of boots that will cover my feet after a big snow and keep me warm and dry, but which are comfortable to wear for an extended period. At this point in my life I doubt that will happen since I've been looking a very long time, but hope springs eternal....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Look back

Things around here often cause me to look back at my ancestors and wonder about what they would or wouldn't have done in similar circumstances. For instance, after the blizzard the church decided to cancel worship the next day. I was appalled, knowing that my great-grandparents would have been there had they needed to walk, and I would have done the same. How does one close a church? It seems to me if three people show up, that's reason enough to have the doors open.

So that got me to thinking about something else. A friend here in East Hampton has an impressive ancestry in the entertainment world. Her grandfather and great-grandfather were "Warners" of "Warner Brothers" fame and she has many well-known people populating her family tree over the years. She was saying that she has actual film footage of her grandfathers talking (being interviewed I guess) and how great it was to be able to watch it.

I must admit I'm jealous. I'd love to hear my grandfather's voice again. And the idea of hearing the voices and seeing the mannerisms and personalities of great-grandparents - well that's a real dream!

The first thing I would ask them if I could is whether or not church was ever cancelled.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More reflections

When we woke up Saturday morning it was after most of the snow had fallen and it was so pretty outside. Once we dressed and got ourselves together we headed out into the cold to survey the world under its blanket of white.

The snow was deep - my jeans were crusted with it at least a foot when I came back inside. There were spots with less and some with more as the wind had spread it all around pretty well, so it was difficult to tell exactly how much we'd gotten. We went to the hedges first, which were bending with the weight. As soon as I attempted to brush the snow off I saw the reason for the load - under the snow was about two inches of solid ice. It seems that the early hours of the storm were rain and slush and then the temperature took a nose dive, coating everything in sight with ice before the snow piled on. So we worked along the hedge line pulling off the icy mounds of snow, working our way to the front of the driveway.

The roads were well plowed and the sidewalks too, so we were able to walk in either direction taking photos of the fresh white surroundings, enjoying the fact that it was so quiet and traffic was sparse. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and it was a beautiful day.

I will be plenty tired of snow once March comes around, but right now, in February, I'am enjoying this winter season.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Snow

Last weekend's snow was perfect. I mean, I'm not a huge fan of blizzards and I can do without icy walkways, etc - but as these things go, this one was well done!

First of all it fell on a Friday night. It started snowing hard about 5:00pm after most everyone was home and safely tucked into their cozy spaces, and it snowed all night long. By morning it was beautiful all around, with mounds of heavy white snow in every direction. Odd shapes were everywhere - ordinary items turned into icy sculptures, like the grill in one direction, the garden in another. Rounded protrusions came up through the ground where the day before there were benches and flower pots, overturned for the winter. And outside was quiet everywhere until the sound of a plow could be heard coming closer and then passing the front of the house. It was  Saturday morning so everyone was content to stay at home, enjoying their coffee and making pot roasts in their crock pots. It was a day for baking cookies and playing games, or reading books and watching TV. There were sweaters to knit and recorded shows to watch so we were happily ensconced in our little home, where there was plenty to eat and a fireplace to enjoy.

Snow can be a real inconvenience at times. But for me, who was happily not on ambulance duty overnight, this storm couldn't have been better. And it was picture perfect besides....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Controversy

Once again we are in the midst of the great controversy over dogs on the beach. Every few years it seems as though this is a discussion on the government level as various citizens complain about the problems of owners who don't clean up after their dogs and aggressive dogs bothering children and families trying to enjoy the beach. It always causes a great uproar among the people who want to walk their dogs on the beach and the fringe element comes out in force.

A few years ago this was a topic for discussion at one of our village board meetings and because out of this long, fifteen minute discussion, one of the things I said was quoted in the local papers, I received hate mail in droves. I was called everything from a Nazi to an animal hater. It was disturbing to say the least. I tried to explain that the fact that I was unhappy with people who didn't control their pets did not make me an animal hater any more than being annoyed at people who allow their children to run around in a restaurant makes me a child hater. For whatever reason, there is no logic involved for some people. Either you agree with them or you're wrong.

One of the most difficult things about being in public office is the need to be calm and measured despite what's being said about you, or the way you're being treated by the public. I've always been of the opinion that rational people should be able to have reasonable discussions but it seems not to always be the case.

So, once again this issue has raised its ugly head. And despite the fact that I tried not to say anything quotable during the discussion, once again I am bracing for the onslaught!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Satisfaction

One of the most satisfying things in the life of any parent has got to be watching their grown children parent their children. We see ourselves, and we see better parents than we were, and that is both comforting and encouraging. And life goes on, improving with each generation.

I had a wonderful mother who was the model of a good parent. My father, however, had a difficult time overcoming his own hard-knock childhood and wasn't all that great at the fathering thing. At least not with me, who was no doubt his most challenging and difficult child. He had a hard time coping with me.

When I had my own children I tried hard to overcome the difficulties of my own childhood to become a better parent to them. I modeled my mother as much as I could, fighting the negative things I experienced from my father that I didn't want to repeat. I listened intently to a wise woman on an Oprah show who said "When we know better, we do better" and I truly tried to do that.

Now, when I see my children parenting their children I am so content to sit back and know that they have learned to be even better at it than I was. I am amazed at their abilities and I admire how each is unique and special in their role. I know that, just as I tired to do, they are doing their best to be even better at it than I was. And that is the best feeling of all. I also know that they learned some of the things that I taught them, the most important of which is that choosing the right partner is the number one thing we can do for our future children's lives. I did well, and so have they.

I have nothing but hope for my grandchildren. They all have amazing parents.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Age

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcdD3x6HQDCN340Fpv9qyFCXhkHFNsF-WcWc3Dew_W5KjLGvb1UgI have one more age issue to annoy me now - deteriorating bone mass. What's next?

My mother did not take one prescription medication in her life other than possibly an antibiotic at some point, but I can't remember even that happening. She was very much anti-meds and drilled it into me that even aspirin should be used with care.

Then there was my father who suffered from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, and refused to do anything about any of those things. So that side of my ancestry is not great in the area of medications. I also have some serious health issues in my family history, and those have haunted me.

So far I take five prescription medications. Now, there is another issue to deal with. From my father I've inherited the high blood pressure and the high cholesterol. From my mother I seem to have inherited a cancer gene. And also from her side of the family, both her sister and mother suffered the results of osteoporosis. Somehow they all seem to have concentrated in me.

Here's the most frustrating part. When the doctor began to quiz me about things like coffee, soda, and alcohol I was already doing everything right. She finally got around to what I already knew was the problem: family history.

My siblings on the other hand have none of these complications, or at least not more than any one of them. And so it seems I should stop buying lottery tickets since I've already won the lottery so to speak. But in this case the drug companies are reaping the benefits. My mother would be horrified!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Drive time

Last weekend we drove to Pennsylvania to see my daughter's family. We left here about 8am on Friday morning and left PA at the same time on Monday. Both trips were uneventful and fairly easy. And that made me think about how travel is always such a difficult thing to plan. Because its never the same way twice.

We've had times making this trip that have taken over six or seven hours. On a good day, it takes about four-and-a-half. That's a big swing!

The biggest problem with living on Long Island is getting off of it. In order to go south, we need to drive through NYC, which is always a crap shoot. And for this particular trip we must traverse both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania Turnpikes. Again, one never knows what might be encountered on either of those roads. We've seen plenty of bumper-to-bumper traffic and our share of accidents as we've driven these roads, and even in the best of times it can be a challenge. We all cope with it and we all hate it, this "getting off the island" issue. Oh to have a daughter that lives in Rhode Island instead of Pennsylvania! The Cross Sound Ferry is so much more relaxing than the New Jersey Turnpike!

Well this trip was not a bad one and we had a great weekend with the kids. Even if the traffic had been bad it would have been worth it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Conversation

My husband and I have been watching past seasons of a show we discovered this year: Parenthood. My daughters recommended it to us and we've enjoyed it so much we decided to go back and watch from the beginning to obtain a better perspective on the character's and their back stories.

So I really like this show, and I love watching past seasons because we can see an hour show in forty minutes and in an evening we can see three episodes. We watched an entire season in just over a week. We're into season two now and looking forward to season three.

Here's the thing that's driving me crazy about this show that I don't like very much, and its not the only show I've seen this in: it's the way the characters talk over each other all the time. What I mean by that is they don't have a normal conversation where one person speaks, the other listens, and then responds. They interrupt each other constantly. One person will be half into sentence and the next one jumps in and talks over them, and then they repeat the process and the dialog becomes a "mod podge" of words and indecipherable thoughts, sometimes impossible to follow.

I'm not sure whether its the rudeness of it all or the fact that they seems to present it as the norm. I don't think it is the norm. And I do think its rude. At least its not the way I was raised to converse with anyone and I don't see it happening around here. Is it so they can sqeeze more into the time frame or what? It's very odd and not realistic at all, at least not in my life!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wind

We had a day last week with wild wind. I don't think we suffered as much as other communities from what I saw on the news - downed trees and power outages here were not a problem. But the howling wind was fierce and sitting in my living room listening to it was pretty cool.

In an old house like mine the wind can be especially noisy. Over the years we've replaced many of the old windows so they don't rattle the way they used to, but older homes are certainly not as air tight as new ones and you realize that when the wind is flying.

You can hear it winding up and building to a fever pitch at times, almost like someone is turning a fan on and off. It's a sound that makes you happy to be indoors and not at all envious of those working outside, hanging on to their hats and struggling against the wind to stand in one place. I remember thinking how nice it was that I didn't need to go out that night but could sit inside enjoying the fireplace and company of my significant other. Winter is fun on the East End as long as you have a nice warm house to enjoy it in.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ice

It was so nice to have a whole week of sub-freezing temperatures a couple weeks ago because it gave us a chance to see skating on Town Pond.

Every year, if there is enough cold weather for skating, you can be sure that the front page of The Star will have a photo of it. It's like one of those givens that I look forward to because it hearkens back to an earlier time when skating on the pond was a right of passage in East Hampton. Everyone looked forward to getting new skates for Christmas and then trying them out on the pond in January.

It seems these years we go through more and more winters without enough days in the lower digits to allow the ice to form safely, and as much as I do not enjoy icy sidewalks and dangerous driving, I love watching the pond full of skaters. It's the "Currier & Ives" childhood I remember and it makes me smile every time. So I'm grateful for at least one nice run of really cold weather and January is the perfect time for it.

I don't own ice skates anymore and would never try to skate myself, but I love it that others do and always look forward to winter just for the skating season. It's a beautiful world out there in the winter and I have no desire to go anywhere else to look for the sun. A sunny cold day here is just fine - especially if there is skating on the pond.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Phoning it in

I recently have been working on issues a long way from here - an elderly aunt is in a nursing home upstate and we, her only family, are trying to make arrangements from afar. I'm traveling with my siblings in a few weeks to clean out her house and prepare it for sale. And we need to accomplish a lot in a few days time. Thus, I've been spending a lot of time on the telephone.

Someone on television recently made some statement about how in the not-to-distant future telephones would be obsolete and all communications would be by computer. I can't imagine that. I left two emails for people in the area we are going to be traveling to in an attempt to make arrangements with them and here it is three days later and I have not heard back from either. On the other hand I have made about a dozen phone calls to make arrangements of one kind or another and all those issues have been dealt with. I think soon I'll be looking to phone the other two and see if I can get better service that way. I suspect I can.

There is nothing quite as effective as a telephone conversation. There is no second guessing the meaning of anything, and if there is its easy enough to clarify. It's easy to get a sense of the person you are talking to as well - are they friendly, curt, grumpy? In a few words much can be conveyed. I cannot imagine that the internet will ever replace the telephone completely.

Besides - isn't the world impersonal enough as it is?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Waiting for a ride

I hate waiting for a ride at my house. What I mean is, the process of waiting for someone to pick me up. Not because I'm impatient, but because I like to be prompt and ready. And it's not easy here.

I grew up in a house that was perfect for this kind of waiting game. There was a visible driveway that could be seen easily from the bay window in the living room. I could see a car before it even turned into the driveway and have my coat on, walking out the door when the driver arrived.

The other places I've lived - a small house when we were first married and then an apartment, were equally easy to spend time waiting for transportation in and I could always see an auto pulling in.

Not at this house. The living room looks out the front of the house but in order to watch for a car I have to turn my head at an uncomfortable angle and try to see headlights flashing between the hedges. If I sit in the back room there is no distraction while waiting and sometimes people don't pull all the way in so I don't always know they've arrived. It's never convenient or easy to sit and try to watch for an arriving vehicle.

I suppose this fits into the category of "first world problems" so I shouldn't complain. But sometimes its the little things that make our lives challenging. Like trying to promptly get my coat on and walk out the door before someone needs to get out of their car and knock. Oh well - summer is coming! Then I can usually hear a car on the gravel driveway no matter where I am....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Country life

I had an experience the other day that was the typical "bad day" story. But it also reminded me of how interesting country life can be sometimes!

There is a Facebook page called "Bonac Yard Sale" and people can post things they want to sell. It's great if you don't have enough to do a whole big sale, or don't want the bother of it all, and I've bought a number of things through the site. It's really a great thing. Well last week I saw a baby seat posted that I wanted to buy because of the little ones I watch on two afternoons a week. Anything to entertain them now that they're four months old is great and the price was right. So I contacted the owner and she gave me an address in Southampton. I told her I would come by Tuesday morning after my shift at the hospital was over.

Tuesday came and in my rush to get out of the house I forgot about my appointment and walked out without the address which I had written on a sheet of paper on the kitchen counter.

Halfway to the hospital I remembered. So I contacted my husband who agreed to run over to the house and get the address so I could call him for the information when I was ready to pick up the item. He did that and I called when I got into my car at 9:30 and he gave me the address: 514 North Main Street. Perfect! I typed it into my GPS and headed toward Main Street and turned left. Down the street, across Montauk Highway, and then I remembered something else: I didn't have enough cash with me and had forgotten to bring a check. Oh boy - how was going to manage this now? Perhaps they would let me mail a check. Well - I was nearly there so if nothing else I would go in and apologize and make arrangements to come back. Sure enough the GPS announces my destination is on the right. I slowed to a stop and looked at the mailbox (we're on a country road now with mailboxes beside each driveway). The mailbox said "502". Hummmm. I looked to the house next on the road and the mailbox, close enough to clearly see, said "516". Well what did that mean? What happened to "504, 506, 508" etc? At that point I was so flustered and annoyed I turned around and drove home.

When I contacted the person who had the seat she said "No idea why the numbers are like that but they are the next house down. So in other words the houses are numbered "502, 516, 514" in that order.

Only in the country....

Friday, February 1, 2013

February blues

Most people who live in the north talk about wanted to go south for the month of March, but for me, the real tough month is February.

I'm not sure why February depresses me, but I think its the post-holiday, pre-spring "shoulder season". The Christmas lights are all out and put away, the sky is a bit dreary, and the weather is nothing to get excited about. I don't mind the cold but I do get tired of trying to warm up my hands while watching TV at night in a cold house. March gets our hearts to thinking about Easter and although its still cold and wintry, there is promise in its days.

So for me, the longest (albeit the shortest) month of the year is February. If I could I would gladly spend it in Charleston, SC, or some other not-too hot climate. I'm not a Florida person and I don't like tropical temperatures. But it would be nice to get away for a few weeks at least. Perhaps a nice cruise in the Mediterranean would be nice.....